Quarterback Derek Carr once said he’d probably retire rather than play for any team other than the Raiders, but he moved in a different direction when faced with making that choice earlier this year.
Carr was released by the Raiders after the end of the 2022 season and he signed with the Saints instead of starting to make life for himself outside of football. On Tuesday, Carr said that the change in scenery has resulted in a fresh start that has reinvigorated him.
The move to New Orleans reunited him with Dennis Allen, who was his first NFL head coach and is going into his second season in that role with the Saints after many years as their defensive coordinator. Carr said that being part of the culture that Allen has helped build has been a spark for him this offseason.
“This organization, the family dynamic, the togetherness that they build every single day that you see from the top down, that’s special,” Carr said, via the team’s website. “That doesn’t just happen overnight. That’s years of work. So the foundation and the culture is already laid, I’ve just got to come in and be me. I’ve just been a fly on the wall, being encouraging and being a leader and doing those things when I need to be and saying something when I need to say something. But I’ve honestly enjoyed my time just getting to be me again. I think being in this building has rejuvenated me. It’s been a breath of fresh air for me. I never wanted to leave Las Vegas, but when I walked into this building after the last couple of months, I’m like, man, I’m glad I’m here.”
The Saints’ offense has underwhelmed the last couple of seasons and quarterback play has been at the center of their struggles. If Carr’s renewed spirit leads to renewed productivity, he won’t be the only one rejuvenated by this offseason’s change of address.